A federal report on identity theft holds both good and bad news for Iowans. The Federal Trade Commission study finds the number of I.D. theft cases is on the rise both in the state and nation. But on the plus side, Ben Hildebrandt, spokesman for the Iowa Bankers Association, says Iowa still has relatively few incidents, compared to everywhere else. He says in 2002, there were reports of two-thousand-92 Iowans reporting some sort of financial fraud or stolen identities. Hildebrandt says the federal study ranks Iowa 48th in the U.S. in identity theft victims — a ranking that’s exceptional.There’s very few people who get socked with identity theft or financial fraud. Only 19 out of 100-thousand victims in Iowa are victims of identity theft. The study shows 18-to-39-year-olds are most likely to fall victim to identity theft. Hildebrandt says there are a couple of likely reasons Iowans are so far down on the number of I.D. theft victims. He says Iowans are, by nature, more cautious with their money. Part of the reason he says is Iowans are less transient. Washington D.C. and California ranked numbers one and two on the survey for identity theft, partly because so many people are moving in and out of those areas and have less of a connection to their friends and neighbors. Hildebrandt says people need to follow a few simple rules to keep their financial information and identities safe.Never give out personal information over the phone or over the Internet as banks and banks and the federal government wouldn’t be asking for that information in that manner. He says just be careful and be diligent.
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